A Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 Journey

An amazing Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 journey…
A BIG 'thank you' to everyone.
"Time goes fast when you’re working hard and having fun. What a year – joyous, fulfilling, inspiring, satisfying….tingling, eye opening and enlightening. An adventure…and a beautiful journey," Donette Chin-Loy Chang, President Jamaica Homecoming Canada; Co-Chair Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012.

Just over a year ago I had the privilege of heading Jamaica Homecoming Canada – this wonderful organization and co-chairing the initiative Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012. Cynthia Reyes had this idea for a Jamaica Homecoming for years, and over time set about getting our interest, and thought it would be great to execute in this the 50th year of Jamaica’s independence. She sold it to a few of us…and we came on board… lock, stock and barrel. So my first thank you is to Cynthia…for a wonderful, compelling idea.

We brought on friends, family and others – one by one you came…with enthusiasm and generosity….because you could not resist. You came with your energy, creativity, personality, good looks and a whole heap of love for Jamaica.

We stayed the course – through marketing, sponsorship, outreaching, packaged tours, communicating, thinking of ways to give forward to Jamaica and taking wonderful trips home… unwavering in our goal and mission.
I thank you: Amanda, Anne, Alene, Desrine, Dahlia, Fahad, Fran, Gloria, Heather Dawn; Jermaine, Karen, Lenny, Lily, Norma, Rose, Samantha, Sandra…for your commitment and dedication. As volunteers you could have chosen any cause, but you loved this one.

What a formidable team we became. And for this I am ever grateful that you hitched your wagon and came for the long ride …thank you so much.Our patrons signed on immediately, although they already have huge connections to Jamaica.        

At the start we shaped the Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 vision, the buzz eventually reached over 200,000 people through our monthly newsletter and our YouTube video (THANKS GRUB COOPER and JOHN) in the first 6 months was over 50,000 (almost 100,000 now) hits, we were on a roll. We launched festively in Toronto and we launched corporately and with government, at a Business launch at the Knutsford Hotel in Jamaica.   

 

From the man in the street in Jamaica, to the Prime Minister and Governor General…we became well known…from the barber shops to the churches and grocery stores in Toronto ; from coast to coast to coast in Canada to the Canadian prime minister; and from the Congo to London, Jamaica to Japan, Miami to Milan.   

My heartfelt thanks to the Jamaican diplomatic corps worldwide starting with our own Her Excellency High Commissioner, Sheila Sealy Monteath and our dear Consul General to Toronto George Ramocan. In many ways they helped us navigate the ‘minefields.’

The government of Jamaica through several ministries embraced our initiative and acted as cheerleaders throughout…thank you all.

Dear sponsors, supporters and contributors: we salute you….
and you can be proud that the monetary gift we give forward to education in Jamaica… happened in very large measure because of you. 
Give thanks also to the connectors, supporters and goodwill ambassadors from all over the world who flew our flag high…including the amazing contributors of the Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 Passport Guide…your work and talent is greatly valued…I thank you…thanks Knolly…great editor and friend.

What can I say about our Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 Advisory Council? Phenomenal! How did we manage to get some of the most respected and sought after movers and shakers in the Caribbean (and the world) to sign on? Honorary patron Douglas Orane along with co-chairs Minna Israel, Thalia Lyn and Jimmy Cliff and Jamaica Homecoming Canada Director Elizabeth Buchanan Hind…led the team of Dana, Kevin, Jason, Wayne, Fae, Jenni, Sharon, Naomi, Bruce, Joan and Melissa.

They organized one of the largest fundraisers for the largest and most respected tertiary institution in the West Indies, the University of the West Indies – Mona campus. The inaugural CB Group UWI 5K netted just under J$20 Million….some C$200,000. As Douglas says: “it’s really how people should work to get things done.”

This unprecedented initiative got an unprecedented amount of funds and in kind sponsorship…from an unlikely group of sponsors…corporations domiciled primarily in Jamaica. It happened when we called former clients, friends and business connections in Jamaica… I thank every one of our sponsors (see list below) wholeheartedly – for their deep trust and abiding faith in an initiative thousands of miles away from Jamaica.

Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 has enabled new thinking – which has enabled a ‘shift in many sectors’ and in years to come we shall see a number of initiatives unfold. Before I end, there is one more group to thank.

The directors of Jamaica Homecoming Canada – Barbara, Cynthia, Elizabeth and Toni and my co-chairs for Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 – Cynthia and Toni as well Lily our able administrator who kept us organized. Directors – your professionalism, strength, forthrightness, tenacity and dogged determination, got us through this year…you are remarkable people and I am honoured and proud to have worked with you. You lifted me up… and in the end we lifted each other higher. In the last 18 months I came to depend on each of you even when your families needed you more. Many thanks to your families…and my warmest thanks to you, and I look forward to the next.

And as we come to the close of Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012, we should all be standing tall and proud, singing from the rooftop…beating our chest, feeling good about our accomplishments. And with gladdened hearts, know that the little children of Jamaica will benefit greatly.

Finally…Who says you can’t go home…yes you can and moreover, you can be the catalyst that ignites the passion in those who want to see home again. Thanks to every one of you, for being the catalyst…for ‘going back home’ – physically, mentally, spiritually and in many tangible ways… for Jamaica, Land we Love.

Visit the Grand Jamaica Homecoming at www.comehomejamaica.com

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